Date: 02 August 2012
DOC ranger Pete McMurtrie and Fiordland College students, Natasha Powell and Jason Lu, holding tracking and trapping equipment
Step into Fiordland National Park today and you will find that the team of rangers working to protect the special plants, animals and many tracks has just doubled in size.
36 students from Fiordland College are work-shadowing DOC rangers for the day as part of the Department of Conservation’s support of the 'Kids Restore the Kepler' project.
Led by the Fiordland Conservation Trust (FCT), this major restoration project, funded by Kids Restore NZ, aims to help Fiordland's young people develop values, knowledge and skills so that they may be confident, connected and able to care for their environment now and in the future.
Fiona Humphries, the careers counsellor at Fiordland College said the students are buzzing with excitement about who will be doing what on the day. “Each student has completed a questionnaire about their interests and matched to a ranger accordingly".
The students are working across the full spectrum of jobs at DOC. Some will be outside whatever the weather; maintaining tracks, pulling weeds, or carry out monitoring work. Others will be caring for very rare animals or checking the traps which protect them. Then there's the inside jobs; staffing the Fiordland National Park visitor centre, creating content for the DOC website, GIS mapping projects and fixing up machinery at the workshop. Two lucky students will also get to be 'roving reporters' for the day, checking up on their classmates and writing all about it in next weeks Fiordland Advocate.
"The opportunity to become a Ranger for a day is great. I'm hoping I will be in the bush working to protect the birds” said 15 year old Jason Liu.
“I don't mind what the weather is doing. I'm happy to be outside” he added.
This is exactly what Jason will be doing on the day as he has been placed with DOC Ranger Chris at the Burwood Takahe Rearing Unit.FCT Chairman Murray Willans said this is a neat opportunity for the students to engage in the wide range of skills utilised in conservation management. “It's great to have the support of our local DOC staff to help the students experience their particular area of interest in a practical context”.